‘If you do feel like something is not right, leave immediately’: APD offers safety tips after dating app scam arrests

APD offers safety tips after dating app scam arrests

ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - The app called “Tagged” is advertised as an app to meet new people. However, the Albany Police Department said two men arranged a date on it and when the person arrived at the home, things took a turn.

The two men were arrested in connection to an Albany dating scam.
The two men were arrested in connection to an Albany dating scam. (Source: WALB)

Donnie Jones and Tredarius Newberry are behind bars after a home invasion and attempted burglary that happened in December.

The two turned themselves in on Monday after being sought out by police.

They were identified in two separate reports.

Police said the men were arranging dates on the app.

When they would arrive at the person’s home, one man would come up with a reason to go outside and return with the second man to rob the victim.

“First couple of dates, three or four, five, six dates, I advise not coming to your residence,” said Sgt. Phyllis Smith with APD’s property crime unit. “Meet out in a public place or around someone else and if you do feel comfortable with bringing someone to your house, make sure to let someone know.”

Smith said the public should be aware of the dangers of dating apps and shares tips for those using them.

  • Try to verify the person is real and verify their phone number.
  • If you are going to meet someone try to meet in public places, don’t share your home address with strangers.
  • If you meet someone in person, do not carry large amounts of cash.
  • Be prepared and have a backup plan in case things go wrong.
  • Try to remember the vehicle description.
  • Also, let someone know that you are meeting a friend and provide information on that meeting location.

APD advises to always be aware of your surroundings and check anyone else is accompanying the person you are meeting.

“If you do feel like something is not right, leave immediately,” Smith said. “Or start trying to get other people’s attention. Be defensive about it. (Say) ‘I don’t feel comfortable with what’s going on. I’m about to leave.’ Fight and try to get away as fast as possible. Start using your phone (as) everybody knows how to get on the phone and call 911. Let it be going, let 911 dispatcher hear the conversation.”

If anyone finds themselves in a bad situation, Smith said you should talk while the dispatcher is on the phone and state names and locations. That way you can lead them to who you’re with and where you’re at.

APD officials said they believe there may be more victims out there who have not come forward.

The Albany Police Department urges anyone who has been a victim to come forward by calling (229) 436-TIPS.

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